Tucson’s latest run at Triple-A baseball ends tonight, as the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) play their final game at Kino Stadium before a departure to El Paso.
This time the departure is a little different; the T-Padres were always a short-term plant at Kino Stadium, so while there was hope the team would stick around, the reality was that there was little chance the team would not be moved.
Still, for GM Mike Feder, it’s a bittersweet time. Feder has been part of Tucson baseball in both recent Triple-A incarnations — some 27 years in the trenches — and has deep roots in the community. From the Arizona Daily Star:
“It’ll be a sad day,” said Feder, the Padres general manager. “You put three years into it, and I wish the results would’ve been better, but, it is what it is. We raised a lot of money, we provided great entertainment and quality baseball. I’ll never classify what we achieved as a failure; it just wasn’t good enough.”…
Last week, the San Diego Chicken came out of semi-retirement for his last Tucson performance; and former Toros and Sidewinders have been parading through for pre-game celebrations of their time with those clubs.
To mark the occasion, Mike asked his wife of 37 years, Pattie, to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s game. Nice.
Some T-Padres employees will find jobs elsewhere in baseball, like the talented voice of the team, Tim Hagerty. Others will stay in Tucson; even though baseball is departing, there’s still a vibrant sports scene, with pro soccer poised to replace spring training as an economic force in the city. And for baseball fans, there will always be Wildcats baseball at Hi Corbett Field — one of the great success stories in NCAA baseball.
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